Small business owners likely know full well that because of their inability to afford hiring a full-time IT worker, they may be at risk for data breaches that can end up being extremely costly. However, even with tech insurance to insulate them from those potential problems, they may still be losing money because of staffing issues.
Typically, when small businesses don’t have a dedicated IT professional, they instead have to rely on other workers, who might have some sort of background in the field or more appreciable technical know-how than other employees, to do things the computer expert might have done, according to new data from Microsoft. That, in turn, leads small businesses worldwide to lose some $24 billion annually as a result of lost productivity. That’s compared with $83 billion in IT and communications spending.
Today, about 3.8 million companies have what are known as “involuntary IT managers,” for whom this is not in their job description, but they take on the roles anyway, the report said. These people tend to lose about six hours a week on IT issues rather than their actual jobs, and 30 percent of those workers say that these problems are a nuisance to their everyday jobs. More than one-quarter of those polled also said they don’t feel as though they’re qualified to be doing this type of work.
“Many small businesses don’t have the budget for formal IT support, so they rely on the company’s most tech-savvy individual to manage their technology,” said Andy Bose, founder, chairman and chief executive officer at AMI-Partners, which conducted the poll for Microsoft. “As our research shows, relying on an involuntary IT manager can have an adverse impact on small businesses’ productivity, which can negatively affect revenue and translates into a very high opportunity cost. These companies can potentially leverage cloud services to alleviate the need for day-to-day in-house IT support with positive impact on their business productivity.”
However, it seems that small businesses are getting at least somewhat smarter about these approaches, the report said. About one-third say they will likely shift IT spending to the cloud, and roughly twice as many say that their biggest issues are security and privacy.
Without proper IT spending, small businesses may be at particular risk for data breaches, which can get extremely costly to remediate. As a consequence, having small business insurance policies specifically to cover these incidents may be extremely beneficial.